Author Archive

What’s been making us smile in February!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro Development York  

The work we’ve been doing with the Cabinet Office has been really exciting and has also meant we’ve been out on the road a lot!

We’ve had some real laugh out loud moments along the way with some interesting stories and experiences. We’ve been faced with train delays, exploding lorries, missing manuals, dodgy hotels (including a particularly lovely stay in a Brothel in London!), missing delegates (including an arrest!), some interesting travel companions and on it goes.

We’ve kept smiling throughout and reminded ourselves that you can look at life in different ways – we chose to laugh and decided we should probably write a best selling novel “Trials and Tribulations of a Trainer”!

Choose your attitude but most importantly choose to smile 🙂

Exciting Project delivering change ….

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro-Development York Training Synergy Pro-Development York

We’ve been busy since October designing and delivering a three day bespoke programme with Training Synergy to support the Cabinet Office with a change project, here’s what they had to say…

“Michelle is a pure joy – so passionate, enthusiastic and brilliantly motivational. There is such preparation and skills required for good quality training and Michelle has it in abundance.”

“As a County Lead, Branch Chair and Director, I would like to thank Sue for what I would describe as probably the best course of this kind I’ve attended in many years!”

“One of the highest quality, engaging and enjoyable training events that I have ever attended. Thank you!”

“This has been a really good use of my time – each day has been challenging and engaging and given me lots to reflect on. I am looking forward to focusing my efforts on trying out the training techniques and activities. Fabulous – thank you Michelle.”

“Really enjoyed how Sue undertook the training – will use some of her training in the future.”

“Michelle’s knowledge, enthusiasm and delivery of training was very impressive and this is probably the first training course I haven’t struggled to stay engaged at any point – thanks.”

Did you know?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

It can cost 12-18 months’ salary to replace an employee!*

If you think that seems an excessively high figure, think again. This time consider the following, often hidden costs: recruitment and training costs, time spent on the exit process, juggling workload and temp costs, loss of expertise and productivity, managing turnover and quality problems and customer dissatisfaction.

Your employees are engaged they’ll be happier, healthier, more fulfilled and less likely to leave their position. By having a happy and engaged workforce you could also see a 12% increase in profit and potentially a 5% increase in productivity.

Here are some tips drive up your employee engagement levels in 2014 and reduce your staff turnover:
  • Spend time during the recruitment process get to understand the candidates making sure they are the right person for the role and the company.
  • Create and share a vision for the future, one that is understood and resonates with the entire workforce.
  • Set clear expectations, and provide regular honest feedback to each individual.
  • Commit to development, for careers and individual current role.
  • Rewards and Recognition, it’s not always about money, remember to say thanks!
  • Be Trustworthy, honour your commitments and trust others.
  • Work/Life Balance, understand different needs of your people and be flexible.
  • Last but by no means least – Have fun, life’s too short not to!

Source: HayGroup, How to stop your talent taking flight, September 2013

New for 2014 – Management Development Programme

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

We are really excited about our Management Development programme which commence in March 2014.This Six month Programme will take you an inspiring journey with a difference and one that you will never forget. You will learn about yourself, discovering how you can remain authentic but still bring out the very best in your teams and colleagues. You will be supported throughout the journey by your Programme Leader, and a coach and will form long-lasting bonds with other people on the programme. Click here to find out more and how to book a place.

Why not drive up your employee engagement levels in 2014?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

People really do make a difference, particularly when it comes to employee engagement.

Our last issue we mentioned the amazing results one of our client had in their Employee Engagement survey, the people there had a huge role to play in their success.

Since we wrote about our client, a number of you have approached us to find out more about employee engagement. We have talked much about the importance of employee engagement and the benefits of focusing on people and performance.

For a start, if your employees are engaged they’ll be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.  But equally great, you could also see a 12% increase in profit, alone not to mention the and increase in staff retention and 5% increase in productivity.  I could go on!

Another Great Year

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Jingles bells,  Jingle bells,  Jingle all the way!

It’s incredible to think about what we can all achieve in a year.   Pro-Development has gone from strength to strength, in what has been a fun and very diverse year!  We have supported companies with employee engagement, implemented some performance management frameworks, helped in the set-up of a  contact centre, coached people, trained in a range subjects,  delivered IT training and on the list goes…..! That said though, is really has been the people we have met, old and new that have made it a great year, it makes all the difference to us and we are very fortunate to be able to work with such lovely people .    So to all our friends, we wish you a very merry Christmas …. see you in 2014!

October 2013 Newsletter

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries


Halloween already? Time flies when you’re having fun! And my, did we have fun recently celebrating our second birthday (Or so I’m told!) Can’t believe two years have passed so quickly, huge thanks go to all of you who have played a part in our journey. I wonder what we will have achieved in another two years –we’re very excited!

Yet another cause for celebration, we’ve been busy working closely with a few clients undertaking employee engagement surveys. Whilst doing so I am absolutely thrilled to share that one particular company had 100% trust in senior leaders (you know who you are!)

August 2013 Newsletter

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

What a fantastic summer! It’s been great to watch our sunflowers grow, and to watch the amazing businesses we work with grow as well.

I wonder, for those of you who received a sunflower seed from us…how well did yours perform? Remember there’s a prize for the tallest, although photographic evidence will be required!

March 2013 Newsletter

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Well here we are, in spring (although you’d be forgiven for not realising!), it’s been an incredibly busy start to the year and we’ve been involved in some incredible things too.

This year I have been asked to join the governments ‘Engage for success’ guru group to represent SMEs.

I’m very excited about this, not only because I’ve never been a guru before but also the fact that we have the opportunity to influence at a national level! I’ve been to a regional event and it was great to hear the challenges that businesses face and ideas to help increase engagement. Engage for success has a web site which is packed full of tool, ideas and event why not take a moment to look or even add the site to your favourites .